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New narrative for the Western Balkans defined in Ulcinj

New narrative for the Western Balkans defined in Ulcinj
Published date: 09.04.2019 17:05 | Author: Ministry of Science

Ispis Print


Ministry of Science  Ministry of Science

Today, on 9 April 2019, a forum titled “Science and Innovation 2030 Vision for the Western Balkans” was organised by the Ministry of Science of Montenegro and Podgorica Club (Podgorički klub).

The forum aimed to bring together key partners and stakeholders with a view to exchanging views and considering the vision of strengthening research and innovation in the Western Balkans.

The transition to knowledge societies has already begun to take place in the Western Balkans region and the questions of how to better position oneself in this process, how to use regional cooperation and the support of EU institutions and how to create a new narrative for our region were among the topics of the first “Podgorica Club” forum.

Ministry of Science  Ministry of Science

The conference was opened by Mr. Filip Vujanović, President of the Podgorica Club, who reminded those present that Podgorica Club was a sui generis regional initiative, dedicated to the prosperity of the Western Balkans and its affirmation in the international community. The initiative is sui generis because its members are former presidents of states and governments who accomplish the mission of the Club with their experience and good will. On this task, members of the Club from Croatia and Slovenia constitute a connection and a bridge to the EU.

Vujanović emphasised that the Club’s mission was to promote new relations in the Western Balkans through a new narrative dealing with the present and the future. The new narrative promotes dialogue and understanding for better cooperation and partnership in the Western Balkans.

Ministry of Science  Ministry of Science

Minister Sanja Damjanović addressed the participants on behalf of the Ministry of Science of Montenegro, stating that the process of integration into the European Research Area and the Innovation Union posed new challenges and opportunities before the region that could most effectively be implemented through regional and international cooperation. Furthermore, according to her, the region needs strong support from the main actors of the European Union and other organisations and institutions.

“Finding our common path towards knowledge-based economy is the key to success. Therefore, I strongly believe that we can do more and better together, becoming in this manner equal partners to our European colleagues”, Damjanović concluded.

Ministry of Science  Ministry of Science

During the first session, the keynote speakers included the representatives the Regional Cooperation Council, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology, the European Commission, the Council of Europe, the Berlin Process, and CERN. The participants agreed on the importance of mapping research infrastructure at the regional level, as the process should inform future scientists about the existing infrastructure at their disposal. Being aware of the common past and the common future of the countries of the Western Balkans, the representatives of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the European Commission indicated the need to utilise human resources with a view to accelerate development and innovation in those countries. Finally, it was concluded that by initiating the process of cooperation between the academic community and political decision-makers, systemic reforms could be implemented that would reduce the outflow of talents, with the aim of integrating the Western Balkans into the European Union.

Within the ministerial panel, under which representatives of governments of countries of the region spoke about their efforts aimed at achieving the economic competitiveness of their countries, it was concluded that the region faced the same challenges and problems. The best way to define those challenges was through regional cooperation and exchange of experiences, which would also facilitate development based on research and innovation. On that path, significant EU support is expected, which implies certain funding instruments for the Western Balkans.